It’s time for Wrestle Kingdom 14! The premiere wrestling supershow will be live from the Tokyo Dome and for the first time ever there will be TWO nights full of action. Every title will be on the line including the Double Gold Dash to crown the first ever IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental double champion! Night Two is the culmination of a year’s worth of build and storytelling and promises to be full of drama and excitement…
NEVER OPENWEIGHT 6-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH/GAUNTLET MATCH
Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this last year and it’s not one of the matches I’m most looking forward to this year. The NEVER 6-man belts seem to barely ever have much thought put into them and I guess it’s not surprising with so many titles in NJPW. This kinda seems like mostly just a way of getting everyone on the card who wasn’t yet and I’d so much rather see the Rumble return. Hopefully they’ll have some opportunities to make this match fun but mostly I hope Shingo gets to destroy everyone in his path. One good thing about this is that I honestly have no idea who will win this. If I had to guess, I’d probably go with the champs to retain but it’s a toss-up.
Who Should Win: Bushi/Takagi/EVIL
Who Will Win: Taguchi/Yano/Makabe
JYUSHIN THUNDER LIGER RETIREMENT MATCH Ⅱ
Jyushin Thunder Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Hiromu Takahashi & Ryu Lee
I’ve never really been big on the way NJPW does retirement matches and anniversary matches and things of that nature, usually making them big, multi-person matches. While this should benefit from a smaller number of competitors, I can’t help thinking how much I’d rather see Liger pass the torch to Takahashi one-on-one. That’s still probably what will happen and I’m sure it will be awesome, but I would love that one final 1v1 match. Should be very emotional and definitely entertaining.
Who Should Win: Takahashi
Who Will Win: Takahashi
IWGP Jr. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH)
This one promises to be wildly entertaining and very dramatic. All four of these guys are ridiculously athletic but also understand how to tell a good story and I honestly can’t wait for this one. I can’t imagine that the Jr. Tag League winners not bringing home the gold after the year they’ve had, coming up just short so many times against G.o.D., but at the same time, part of me feels like anything could happen here. I’m still picking Roppongi 3k to unseat the champs.
Who Should Win: Roppongi 3k
Who Will Win: Roppongi 3k
BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) vs. SANADA
This is a tough one to predict. SANADA has had quite a year despite it not quite being the amazing year people were predicting. It seems like the one thing SANADA is lacking that will take him to that next level is consistency and hopefully we’ll see more of that from him in the new year. My heart is saying that SANADA will be propelled into the new year by a big title victory but my head is telling me that it’s more likely than not that Zack Sabre, Jr. isn’t dropping the RevPro title to SANADA. Of course, I said the same thing about Tanahashi at Royal Quest. And certainly ZSJ could very well start coming even more unglued after what happened to the Labour party last month.
Who Should Win: SANADA
Who Will Win: SANADA
IWGP US HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jon Moxley -or- Lance Archer (c) vs. Juice Robinson
Juice Robinson has never really been someone I’ve been a huge fan of. Like, I like him and am often entertained by him but he’s not really someone I’m ever particularly excited to see. I honestly kinda wish he and Lance Archer would switch places because Moxley/Archer is going to tear the house down. From a booking standpoint, I can’t imagine Moxley losing on night one because why wouldn’t you want arguably the most popular U.S. wrestler on the card to wrestle both nights? I also can’t imagine Moxley retaining on night two for obvious reasons. This match should be good and hopefully a satisfying conclusion to a feud that has fallen by the wayside, but I don’t think it’ll be able to top Moxley/Archer.
Who Should Win: Juice
Who Will Win: Juice
NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
KENTA (c) vs. Hirooki Goto
It’s been very strange to me to see the mixed reviews that KENTA’s time in NJPW has been getting. I think KENTA is honestly experiencing a career renaissance after his NXT career was never really able to get off the ground. He’s had some excellent matches this year, even a few MOTY candidates, and joining Bullet Club and winning the NEVER title have done wonders for him. I would love to see him retain here and continue holding the NEVER belt at least until Dominion and maybe even all the way to WK15. I’m not sure I see that happening because it also kinda feels like Goto is due right now. That kinda makes this one a little bit of a pick ’em.
Who Should Win: KENTA
Who Will Win: Goto
SPECIAL SINGLE MATCH
Chris Jericho vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Man, I’m excited for this. Two of the greatest and smartest wrestlers of all time finally facing each other on the biggest stage. I can’t wait to see what these two come up with for this match, especially with such a complete clash of characters. I want to say that Tanahashi will most likely win this because he has more to gain within the ranks of NJPW with a win but honestly, I’m not sure Jericho doesn’t have more to gain overall. If Jericho wins that likely means more Jericho appearances in NJPW in the future which I think is good news (and good business) for everyone involved so I’m picking him.
Who Should Win: Jericho
Who Will Win: Jericho
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT AND IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SPECIAL SINGLE MATCH
Kazuchika Okada -or- Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito -or- Jay White
It only makes sense to lump these two together because you can’t really talk about any of this without talking about all of it, including who’s going to win on night one. First of all, all four matches these four are going to put on will be incredible. These are arguably the four best wrestlers in NJPW right now which places them all high in the running for best in the world and they’ve all faced each other at some point this year, some multiple times, many of them MOTY candidates.
I know I’ve been burned before but if I were a bettor, I’d be putting my money on Naito finally getting the Okada monkey off his back and becoming double champion on night two. It’s a bit strange that they didn’t just have him win the G1 to complete that quest and instead set up this situation where someone *has* to walk out of WK with both belts instead of having to really *earn* each belt on its own but the benefit of that is that, to some extent, anyone could win any of these matches and walk out of night two as double champion. In fact, oddly enough, I’d probably say that Okada has the longest odds to finish the weekend as double champion.
I also feel like who wins the night one matchups will give us a really good idea of who is walking out double champion the following night. If it’s Naito, it doesn’t make much sense to have him beat anyone but Okada so if Ibushi faces Naito, Ibushi likely wins. But if Ibushi or Okada is taking home the gold, you have to think they would defeat Jay White, although it would probably make more sense for White to get his win back over Ibushi from the G1 final–they might have him take down the almighty Okada to give him a real push but he’s already beaten him a couple times even though it was White that Okada took the title from at G1 Supercard. But I think in this case, the most predictable results are the correct ones.
Who Should Win: Naito def. Okada, White def. Ibushi
Who Will Win: Naito def. Okada, White def. Ibushi